FIVE matches into the season and Richard Cockerill, the new Edinburgh coach, admits he is still experimenting to find out about his players as tonight's match with Leinster draws closer – and that futures are on the line for those who don't get his stamp of approval.

After making nine changes to the side that battled enthusiastically but still lost to the Scarlets last week, he said: "I need to make decisions around guys moving forward – around contracts – so I need to see everybody. Some of our guys haven’t put their hands up as much as I’d like them to.

"It’s not about the short-term fix all the time. I need to think about what I’m doing going forward this season. I don’t expect us just to fulfil the fixture. I expect us to go there and put up a good show and try and win the game. The reality? We’ll see.”

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Some of the changes were enforced. He has lost Michele Rizzo, the on-loan prop, for the next four weeks after his red card in Wales, though Cockerill does want to have talks with Leicester, the player's main club, about extending the loan at least until after Scotland's November Tests.

There is no chance of an appeal, Cockerill agreeing the verdict was fair, but even if Allan Dell does return to action next week, as expected, there would still be a problem for the club when he is on Scotland duty with Rory Sutherland and Alasdair Dickinson long-term injured.

Scotland is also the reason a few more players – Ross Ford, WP Nel, Ben Toolis and Magnus Bradbury – have been rested this week, but Cockerill is also anxious to keep giving players chances to see who can impress him.

The big opportunity this week goes to James Johnstone, the centre who has mainly been off on sevens duty – and is was named in the core sevens squad last week – but Cockerill believes might have the pace and skill to make a difference for his club.

Johnstone has played for them before, coincidentally starting his career against Leinster during the 2015 World Cup when both sides had their internationalists away. He went on to make three appearances – all off the bench, this is his first start – before going back to the sevens squad.

That is poses another dilemma for Cockerill, Scott Johnson, the SRU director of rugby, and John Dalziel, the sevens coach. If Johnstone and Dougie Fife, another sevens player facing Leinster, do well in Edinburgh colours, do they stay with the club or go back to their sevens roles?

"There are ongoing discussions. Those guys are forcing their way into the starting team or the 23, I would like to think we can do something to be able to keep them," said Cockerill.

He knows this match is a huge challenge for the side. Leinster lost a game they expected to win last week in Bloemfontein, so not only do they have a point to prove in front of their fans but this is also the match where they restore four of their British & Irish Lions to the side after a post-tour rest.

Leinster: J Carbery; F McFadden, R O’Loughlin, N Reid, D Kearney; J Sexton (C) , L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, S Fardy, R Ruddock, J Murphy, S O’Brien. Replacements: B Byrne, E Byrne, A Porter, R Molony, M Deegan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, J Larmour.

Edinburgh: G Bryce; T Brown, J Johnstone, P Burleigh, D Fife; J Tovey, S Hidalgo-Clyne; D Marfo, S McInally, S Berghan, F McKenzie (C), G Gilchrist , J Ritchie, H Watson, C du Preez. Replacements: N Cochrane, M McCallum, K Bryce, A Bresler, J Hardie, N Fowles, B Kinghorn, R Fruean.

Referee: I Davies (Wales)